• Why We're Drawn to Self-Sabatoge

    Even the best of us can raise our hands in the air and shamefully admit that we have indulged, at some point, in self-sabotage. Why does it happen? Why, when you’ve struggled all week with a perfect diet and exercise routine, do you eat too much? There are a couple of logical reasons why, and knowing about them will help you overcome them.

    We are Programmed to Reward Ourselves

    When we achieve a goal (large or small), we feel the need to reinforce that accomplishment - a habit we learned as children. As adults, those rewards often come in the shape of serotonin-raising activities like eating and/or drinking.

    We are Dazed and Confused

    When we change an old habit (that feels comfortable and safe regardless of the consequences), we are left in the realm of the unknown. We now find ourselves confused about which person we really are - the one with the old habits or this new person. This conflict causes stress, which leads to behavior that returns things to the status quo: the old you.

    We Give into Negative Self-Talk

    If you have a pet, you feed and exercise them because you have a responsibility to their welfare and care. If you're a parent, you make sure your kids have the best that we can afford for them because we are responsible for giving them the best life we can. However, when self-esteem is low, often from the negative self-talk of others which over time becomes negative self-talk, we forget that we have a responsibility to ourselves. We sabotage our intentions and self-fulfill the negative speak in our minds.

    Fear of Failure

    We self-sabotage to avoid the fear of failure. If you choose to avoid failure, then you are in control of that situation - ultimately tricking   yourself into a false sense of comfort (since your subconscious mind is telling you there is no failure occurring). It sounds crazy, but the mind is programmed to trick us when we feel threatened. When we self-sabotage, we are giving ourselves permission to not perform, not try. Even worse, we feel "good" about having dodged the failure (even though it didn't exist in the first place). Failure is a concept put upon us by others. Failure is only possible if we allow ourselves to be judged. Let’s look at a familiar situation, say a spelling test. We all did them in school. If you are dyslexic or didn’t study, you may well have ‘failed’ in traditional terms. Now, allow me to present the low marks of that test in a different light; it is no more than feedback. To the dyslexic, it's feedback that a different learning strategy is needed. To the student who didn't study, it's feedback that he/she needs to dedicate more time to the task. If you keep trying to accomplish a task, you're never failing.

    We Don't Get Enough Sleep

    It’s very simple. If you don’t get enough sleep, your reasoning is impaired. Make sleep a priority, and you will make better decisions.

    What to Do When Self-Sabotage Comes Knocking

    Look at each moment of self-sabotage as it arises. You will recognize it as an old friend when it enters the room. Instead of entertaining the thought of failure, use it as an opportunity to gather information about yourself and log it in your mind as feedback. If you are tempted to eat more than your food plan allows, remind yourself of your goals and remember that you are human. It's normal to feel the need to sabotage, but it's destructive to give in.

    Having trouble saying no? Call upon your fitness sponsor(s) or tap into an online community like the one on FerrignoFit.com. Once you've found others with the same challenges as you, you'll not only learn new tips, but you'll minimize the size of the problem. Finally, learn how to pause. With each pause in your behavior, you give yourself time to reassess and remind yourself of where you want to be.

    The Bottom Line

    Over time the pause in your behavior, the reminder that you are in charge, and the acknowledgement that failure only exists if you stop trying should help you get to where you want to be. Each moment of your life is different, and in each new second, you hold the potential for change.

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